HIE policy decisions have great impact on volume of data exchange

Blue people standing in circle

Health information exchange policy decisions, especially auto-query and patient consent, have a big impact on the exchange of data, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

The researchers, from Stanford University School of Medicine and elsewhere, note that their study is the first to look at HIE organizational policy choices and how that impacts data exchange.

Health information exchange adoption and use continues to see "considerable growth," but is driven only by a small number of states, according to a March report from NORC at the University of Chicago researchers.


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For the report, the researchers examined the Northern California HIE Collaborative and 11 of its systems. Specifically, they focused on those organizations’ policies on auto-query and patient consent between 2013 and 2015. The authors say that though the organizations must adhere to vendor governance standards for the electronic health record, they had “substantial latitude” in policy decisions.

Nine of the 11 systems had auto-querying, which led to a “significant increase” in information exchange, the researchers found. Seven of the 11 did not require patient consent for HIE; those organizations also saw an increase in exchange rates.

“Specifically, both enabling automated patient record querying and information retrieval and minimizing patient consent processes appeared to substantially increase exchange volume,” the authors note.

The authors add there is a need for similar studies to understand the impact of local policy decisions. Without such attention, they say, “technical interoperability may not translate into availability of needed health information for clinicians at the point of care.”

To learn more:
- here's the study

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